Sports

World Cup Fever in Qatar

The World Cup Draw has been completed, and now the 29 qualified countries know their upcoming opponents for November.

By: Emmanuel Mendez

The eight groups for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022. | en.as.com

The World Cup is arguably the biggest sporting event next to the Olympics. Millions of football fans anticipate this event every four years. 

After 2018, football fans worldwide are ready to tune in for another edition of the World Cup in an Arab country (Qatar) for the first time and in the winter (November-December). 

The World Cup Qualifiers finalized the teams remaining for qualification in March, and three slots are still undefined because playoffs are being delayed. The qualification in March left countries in disbelief for the right and wrong reasons respectfully.

AFC (Asia): The Asian countries that qualified for the 2022 World Cup are the hosts Qatar, Iran, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, and Japan. Saudi Arabia placed first in Group B and Japan second. Group A in the third Round saw Iran first and South Korea second. 

The third-place teams in both groups, the United Arab Emirates and Australia, will face each other in the Fourth Round. The winner will play against the 5th place team in the CONMBEOL (South America), Peru, to qualify for the World Cup.

OFC (Oceania): New Zealand won their place in the international playoffs for the World Cup after beating the Solomon Islands 5-0. They will be playing the 4th place team in the CONCACAF (North America) against Costa Rica. 

The winner of the playoff qualifiers for the 2022 World Cup.

CAF (Africa):  The World Cup in Qatar will include five African countries. The five countries that qualified are Ghana, Tunisia, Morocco, Cameroon, and the AFCON Champions, Senegal. 

Ghana returns to the World Cup after missing out in 2018. Their last appearance was in 2014. Ghana played Nigeria, and the aggregate score was 1-1. 

Ghana scored an away goal courtesy of Thomas Party, which gave them a ticket to Qatar. Nigeria misses out on the World Cup for the first time since 2006. 

Tunisia qualified for a consecutive time after defeating Mali 1-0 on aggregate. Moussa Sissako scored in the first leg and was enough to qualify.

Morocco cruised through their second consecutive World Cup after beating DR Congo 5-2 on aggregate. Morocco drew 1-1 against Congo in the first leg but won convincingly 4-1 in the second leg. 

Cameroon dramatically passed Algeria after a late-minute winner and a crucial away goal. The aggregate score was 2-2, but Cameroon advanced by away goal after beating Alegria 2-1 in the second leg. Toko Ekambi scored in the 124th minute, which claimed their position in Qatar.

A replay of the AFCON final occurred in the playoff between Senegal and Egypt. Senegal got the best out of Egypt again after winning on penalties. The first leg was a 1-0 win for Egypt. Senegal won 1-0 in regular time of the second leg. 

After some controversial laser pointing by the Senegalese fans, Mohammed Salah missed his penalty, and his Liverpool teammate, Sadio Mane, scored the winning penalty to take them to Qatar. 

CONCACAF (North, Central America, and the Caribbean): The three qualified teams for Qatar 2022 in CONCACAF are Canada, Mexico, and the United States. Costa Rica placed fourth, which means they will play the inter-confederation playoff against New Zealand for a spot in Qatar. 

Canada will make their second-ever appearance in a World Cup since 1986. The U.S. returned after failing to qualify in 2018, and Mexico qualified for their 8th consecutive World Cup. 

 CONMEBOL (South America): Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, and Ecuador qualify for the CONMEBOL region, and Peru will play either Australia or the United Arab Emirates for a World Cup spot. After qualifying for the past two editions, Colombia placed 6th and missed the World Cup. Chile placed 7th and missed the World Cup for the second time in a row. 

UEFA (Europe): 13 spots are for European countries in the World Cup. Serbia, Spain, Switzerland, France, Belgium, Denmark, Netherlands, Croatia, England, and Germany qualified in November after placing first in their respective qualifying groups.

In the second-round playoffs, Portugal qualified after beating Turkey in a semifinal. Their opponents in the final were North Macedonia, who eliminated the Euros 2020 champions Italy. 

Portugal won their spot after defeating North Macedonia 2-0. Italy misses out again after missing out in 2018. 

Poland defeated Sweden in their final for qualification thanks to goals from Robert Lewandowski and Piotr Zielinski.

The final spot is between Wales, Scotland, and Ukraine. Wales beat Austria 2-1 thanks to a brace from Gareth Bale. 

They await the winner between Scotland and Ukraine, and the winner of that qualifies for the World Cup.

The winners of the last three playoffs will take place in June, and at the time of writing, it is still to be determined when and where it will take place. The World Cup starts on November 21st, and the final will take place on December 17th. 

The Match Schedule is up on FIFA.COM, which shows that the first match won`t be the host nation playing first, which is usually the case. The first game in the 2022 World Cup will be Senegal vs. the Netherlands in Group A. 

There will be four games a day during the group stage. The U.S. (ET) times will be 5 am, 8 am, 11 am, and 2 pm. The World Cup is getting closer and closer, and the world will be watching.

Categories: Sports

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